General Education Policy
Mercer County Community College is committed to providing each student with an educational experience that is shaped by the best traditions of higher learning as it addresses the demands of the modern world. For some students, this experience includes concentrated study in particular subjects required for an intended career path. For all graduates of degree and credit-bearing certificate programs, this experience includes general education.
General education addresses a broad range of learning opportunities for students and establishes high standards for graduates. All degree graduates will be competent in written and spoken English. To the greatest extent appropriate for their degree or certificate, graduates:
- will be competent in critical and quantitative thinking and problem solving;
- will have been immersed in the critical study of what it means to be human;
- will have read, evaluated, appreciated and written about a wide range of texts and experiences;
- will have learned how to integrate their learning into a lifelong process of understanding themselves, others and the world;
- will have learned how to contribute toward a better future for themselves and for others.
To an extent consistent with its primary purposes, each course in every program is expected to reflect the college’s commitment to general education, as affirmed in the lists of General Education Core Competencies and General Education Goals and Objectives. (The list of goals and objectives was initially developed through the New Jersey County College General Education Project, and was revised and enhanced with the inclusion of core competencies through careful and collegial review at Mercer in 2004-05). The college’s intent is that these competencies, goals and objectives will be addressed throughout the curriculum, and thereby be realized to the greatest appropriate extent for each graduate.
The core competencies are not associated with specific courses or programs; rather, they are embedded to the greatest extent possible in all courses. The general education goals and objectives are pursued through specific courses which are classified as general education courses. A general education course is one whose primary purposes and overall design coincide strongly with the approved general education goals and objectives. The President designates which courses are approved as general education courses, and the categories in which they are approved, upon the recommendation of the Curriculum Committee. The general education course list is also subject to affirmation by the statewide General Education Coordinating Committee.
The extent to which approved general education courses are required in the various degree and certificate programs is specified in the chart entitled Academic Program Requirements for General Education. These requirements may be met through particular general education courses specified in the design of the program, or through elective choices (from the approved list) afforded to the student in consultation with his or her advisor. These are the minimum requirements; as appropriate to the program, more general education courses may be required. Exceptions may be approved by the President when these requirements are inconsistent with external requirements for program accreditation or student transfer. This chart reflects greater emphasis on general education within Associate in Arts (A.A.) and Associate in Science (A.S.) transfer programs than within the more specialized Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S.), Associate in Fine Arts (A.F.A.) and Certificate or Proficiency programs.
The faculty and administration share responsibility for assessing these General Education competencies, goals and objectives and improving and modifying courses, programs and this policy in response to such assessment.
Academic Program Requirements for General Education
|General Education Goals
ENG 101, 102, and
CMN 111 or 112]
Written and Oral Communication in English
ENG 101 and 102
CMN 111 or 112
ENG 101 and 102
CMN 111 or 112
ENG 102 or 112
|12 credits total
at least 3 credits
to be mathematics
at least 3 credits
to be lab science
6 credits Math,
Science, or Tech
|9 credits total
at least 3 credits
to be mathematics
at least 3 credits
to be lab science
6 credits Math,
Science, or Tech
|Goal 4: Technology or Information Literacy
|Goal 6: Humanities
|Goal 7: Historical Perspective
|Goal 8: Diversity and Global Perspective
|Unassigned General Education
General Education Core Competencies and Goals
|General Education CORE COMPETENCIES
Core competencies should be embedded – to
the greatest extent possible – in all courses.
|General Education GOALS
Knowledge goals are associated with specific courses.
A. Written and Oral Communication in English
B. Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving
C. Ethical Decision-Making
D. Information Literacy
E. Computer Literacy
F. Collaboration and Cooperation
G. Intra-Cultural and Inter-Cultural Responsibility
Goal 1: Written and Oral Communication in English
Goal 2: Mathematics
Goal 3: Science
Goal 4: Technology or Information Literacy
Goal 5: Social Science
Goal 6: Humanities
Goal 7: Historical Perspective
Goal 8: Diversity and Global Perspective
General Education Core Competencies
Students will communicate effectively in both speech and writing. (See General Education Goal 1.)
A.1. Students will read, write, and listen actively, critically, and reflectively.
B. Critical Thinking and Problem-Solving:
A.2. Students will logically, informatively, persuasively, and creatively respond orally and/or in writing to what they read, hear, and see.
A.3. Students will evaluate and revise their written communication.
A.4. Students will write and speak clearly and effectively in formal American English.
A.5. Students will understand, analyze, and assess nonverbal, cultural, and gender communication in both small group and public communication settings.
Students will use critical thinking and problem solving skills in analyzing information.
B.1. Students will distinguish among opinions, facts, and inferences.
C. Ethical Reasoning and Action:
B.2. Students will identify and critique underlying or implicit assumptions.
B.3. Students will thoughtfully evaluate diverse perspectives and alternative points of view.
B.4. Students will ask informed questions and make informed judgments.
B.5. Students will solve problems by applying discipline-appropriate methods and standards.
Students will understand ethical issues and situations.
C.1. Students will recognize, analyze, and assess ethical implications of an issue or a situation.
D. Information Literacy:
C.2. Students will analyze and evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of different perspectives on an ethical issue or a situation.
C.3. Students will integrate their knowledge, take a position on an ethical issue or a situation, and defend it with logical arguments.
Students will recognize when information is needed and have the knowledge and skills to locate, evaluate, and effectively use information for college level work.
D.1. Students will recognize the value of using information to strengthen arguments and articulate a research question.
E. Computer Literacy:
D.2. Students will identify resources needed and develop and modify appropriate search strategies to obtain the information required to answer a research question.
D.3. Students will recognize the factors that affect the quality of information and extract the pertinent information needed for the specific research question.
D.4. Students will integrate the information located in a cohesive manner that addresses the research question and communicate the information to the appropriate audience.
D.5. Students will respect the privacy, security, and ownership of the information they locate and use. Students will identify the ethical considerations relevant to the use of information, with a particular focus on how to prevent plagiarism.
D.6. Students will demonstrate media literacy by accessing, analyzing, and evaluating messages in a variety of media modes, genres, and forms.
Students will use computers to access, analyze or present information, solve problems, and communicate with others.
E.1. Students will demonstrate proficiency in using major categories of computer software such as word processing, spreadsheet and presentation software.
F. Collaboration and Cooperation:
E.2. Students will be proficient in using an interface and managing files.
E.3. Students will use email and communication software effectively and appropriately.
E.4. Students will use a web browser and search engines to seek information and will recognize types of information and sources.
E.5. Students will understand the impact of computers on society.
Students will develop the interpersonal skills required for effective performance in group situations.
F.1. Students will demonstrate communication skills that promote effective function and interpersonal relations within group situations or settings.
G. Intra-Cultural and Inter-Cultural Responsibility:
F.2. Students will recognize and employ strategies and role-playing which encourage a productive and supportive group climate.
F.3. Students will employ aspects of reflective thinking to solve problems utilizing brainstorming and consensus within collaborative projects.
F.4. Students will identify leadership, task, maintenance and self-serving roles and their effect on group function.
Students will demonstrate an awareness of the responsibilities of intelligent citizenship in a diverse and pluralistic society, and will demonstrate cultural, global, and environmental awareness.
G.1. Students will understand the privileges and responsibilities of being a citizen in a democratic society.
G.2. Students will demonstrate understanding of the behaviors and beliefs of different social groups within a pluralistic society, including groups based on culture, ethnicity, race, religion, creed, disability, marital status, national origin or ancestry, age, gender, economic status, and sexual orientations.
G.3. Students will utilize strategies for effective cross-cultural communication.
G.4. Students will respect and appreciate diverse points of view.
G.5. Students will use inclusive language.
G.6. Students will apply civic knowledge both locally and globally and engage in activities that exercise personal, social, and civic responsibility.
General Education Goals
Goal 1. Written and Oral Communication in English:
Students will communicate effectively in both speech and writing.
1.1. Students will read, write, and listen actively, critically, and reflectively.
Goal 2. Mathematics:
1.2. Students will logically, informatively, persuasively, and creatively respond orally and/or in writing to what they read, hear, and see.
1.3. Students will evaluate and revise their written and/or oral communication.
1.4. Students will write and speak clearly and effectively in formal American English.
1.5. Students will understand, analyze, and assess nonverbal, cultural, and gender communication in both small group and public communication settings.
Students will use appropriate mathematical and statistical concepts and operations to interpret data and to solve problems.
2.1 Students will develop graphical, numerical, analytical and verbal models to describe quantitative relationships that exist in the world and communicate these concepts effectively.
Goal 3. Science:
2.2 Students will investigate and interpret these models using the mathematical skills, tools and reasoning appropriate to each type of model.
2.3 Students will draw logical conclusions by applying a variety of mathematical problem-solving strategies.
2.4 Students will demonstrate an understanding that mathematics is a precise language that is used to solve complex problems in many disciplines.
Students will use the scientific method of inquiry, through the acquisition of scientific knowledge.
3.1. Students will apply the scientific method of inquiry to solve problems and draw conclusions based on verifiable evidence.
Goal 4. Technology or Information Literacy:
3.2. Students will use scientific theories and knowledge to understand the Natural Sciences and assess the impact of scientific theories, discoveries, and technological changes on society.
3.3. Students will integrate scientific principles and scientific discovery, and will critically investigate the impact of science and scientific discovery on our understanding of the natural universe.
Students will use computer systems or other appropriate forms of technology to achieve educational and personal goals.
4.1. Students will demonstrate proficiency with electronic communications as appropriate to academic and professional use.
Goal 5. Social Science:
4.2. Students will demonstrate the ability to use a particular technology or group of technologies to analyze or solve problems.
4.3. Students will demonstrate proficiency in the accurate use of interfaces, files, basic productivity software, web browsers and search engines.
4.4. Students will be able to describe accurately and analyze the impact computer technology has on modern society.
4.5. Students will explain the social and ethical issues that surround a particular technology or group of technologies and articulate their opinions about such issues using written and oral communication.
4.6. Students will gather information using a variety of appropriate resources, search tools, and strategies, evaluate and analyze that information, and then select information and use it correctly to answer a research question.
4.7. Students will respect the privacy, security and ownership of the information they locate and use, recognizing and honoring the ethical considerations relevant to the use of information with a particular focus on eliminating plagiarism.
Students will use social science theories and concepts to analyze human behavior and social and political institutions and to act as responsible citizens.
5.1. Students will critically evaluate behavioral or societal issues using theories and concepts from a social science perspective.
Goal 6. Humanities:
5.2. Students will analyze and appreciate how social and political institutions and organizations influence individual development and behavior.
5.3. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the ways social scientists gather and analyze data, integrate knowledge, and draw conclusions, and will engage with these processes.
Students will analyze works in the fields of art, music, or theater; literature; philosophy and/or religious studies; and/or will gain competence in the use of a foreign language.
6.1. Students will interact with texts, performance and visual media, demonstrating an awareness of significant themes and their contexts. They will analyze these themes and contexts, articulating their connections, meanings and values to self, society, and others.
Goal 7. History:
6.2. Students will draw upon the visual, literary and performing arts and/or the study of philosophical and religious systems of thought and practice in order to extend their understanding of cultural, historical, and intellectual imagination.
6.3. Students will use project-based learning to demonstrate an awareness of and critically engage with a range of historical and contemporary performances and visual and literary works and the approaches commonly used to analyze them.
6.4. Students will demonstrate communicative competence in a language other than their own and an appreciation of that language’s cultural and historical context.
Students will understand historical events and movements in World, Western, non-Western or American societies and assess their subsequent significance.
7.1. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the causes of major historical events and analyze the impact of those events on a nation or civilization.
Goal 8. Diversity and Global Perspective:
7.2. Students will critically interpret primary and secondary historical documents and critically evaluate the influence of perspective, time, and culture on the writers’ point of view.
7.3. Students will explain major ideas, movements, and technological discoveries, and their impact on western, world, and American society.
Students will understand the importance of a global perspective and culturally diverse peoples.
8.1. Students will link culture, its practices and perspectives, with its geographical and/or historical conditions.
8.2. Students will analyze how the differences in people’s backgrounds are important to U.S. society and the global community.
8.3. Students will evaluate the consequences of prejudicial attitudes and discriminatory actions.
8.4. Students will analyze the impact of globalization on the economic and political structures of various nations and cultures.
8.5. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the behaviors and beliefs of different social groups within a pluralistic society.
Board of Trustees approval: 12/17/98
Revised: 4/27/05, 10/16/08, 7/20/09